About Hollander's - A History

After 30 years in the Kerrytown Shops in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in July 2020, Hollander's downsized their business to a warehouse location in nearby Ypsilanti where they are now conducting business through their website only. 

Hollander’s was started and is owned by Tom and Cindy Hollander. They began their business out of their home in 1986 and opened their Kerrytown store in 1991. Over the years their business grew from a 200 square foot starter store to, for a time, over 14,000 square feet, occupying three full floors in the historic Godfrey Building in downtown Ann Arbor.

Over the years, Hollander’s became nationally recognized as a leading source for unique decorative papers and book cloths (with over 2,500 in stock), and a major source of hand-bookbinding tools and supplies. As part of nation-wide book arts movement, Tom and Cindy also established an extensive program of book and paper art workshops, Hollander's School of Book and Paper Arts in 1993.  

Along with decorative papers, bookbinding supplies, and workshops, Hollander's, for many years, was considered Ann Arbor's premier stationery store with a large collection of greeting cards, journals, address books, gift wrap, ribbon, and unique gift items.  

Here is a short video of Hollander's Kerrytown store which was filmed in 2014. For more about Hollander's history over the years, continue reading below.

The History of Hollander's 

1960’s and 1970’s – Tom learned book and box making from his mother, Annette Hollander, who developed a small craft business called Bookcraft in Hamden, Connecticut. Cindy grew up enjoying all arts and crafts and had a special passion for interior design and stationery products.

1986 – Living in Ann Arbor, Tom and Cindy decided to start a similar book and box making craft business from their home which gradually grew into full-time jobs for both of them. They mostly sold their handcrafted book, box, and desk accessories at local and Midwestern art fairs.

1991 – Tom and Cindy opened a retail store named Hollander's, located on the second floor of the Kerrytown Shops Market Building in downtown Ann Arbor. From this very small 200 square foot space, they sold their unique handmade decorative paper covered products.

Upstairs Store in Kerrytown1992 – Hollander's expanded into a larger 500 square foot space across the hallway where they began selling the decorative papers and bookbinding supplies used in their craft. They also began adding stationery products.

1993 – Tom and Cindy started offering store demonstrations of their craft. They attracted the attention of several local book and paper artists who also participated in various demonstrations. 

1994 – As community interest grew, they decided to start teaching one and two day workshops in their store. Later they adopted the name Hollander’s School of Book & Paper Arts to describe their class offerings. Along with local instructors, they started offering bookbinding, book arts, paper making, paper marbling, calligraphy, collage, and origami workshops.

1996 – Hollander's was able to expand by adding 900 square feet behind their store front. This enabled Tom and Cindy to move their work studio from their home and expand the school space for teaching workshops.

2000 – A much larger expansion took place when they added 2,500 square feet to their existing store on the second floor of the Market Building. In the process, they substantially grew their decorative paper collection, bookbinding supplies, and stationery products. Hollander's School of Book & Paper Arts held it's first if a number of “graduation” ceremonies., honoring students that taken over 50 hours of workshops.               

2001 – Another opportunity arose, allowing Hollander's to move their school to the 3,500 square foot basement of Kerrytown's Godfrey Building. Over the next few years, large bookbinding and letterpress equipment was added. More workshops were introduced, bringing their school to attract nationally recognized instructors from around the country.

                      Downstairs Workshop

2003 – Tom and Cindy founded and partnered with the Kerrytown District Association to start the Kerrytown Bookfest. This event emphasized a very strong book and paper arts component. Over the next 10 years the Bookfest grew into a major fall event in Ann Arbor. The Farmers' Market, located adjacent to Hollander's store, was filled with bustling book and paper arts booths and various on-going demonstrations.

2004 – Hollander's continued their expansion with a major move to the newly vacant 5,000 square foot location on the ground floor of the Godfrey Building. The store, ideally, was located directly above their downstairs workshop space. In the much larger retail store, they soon became recognized as the major anchor store in the Kerrytown Shops and one of the country’s premier paper and stores. 

Don Etherington - American Academy of Bookbinding  

2005 – Hollander's formed a partnership with the American Academy of Bookbinding, a professional bookbinding school based in Telluride, Colorado. Through AAB, they began offering intensive one and two week long workshops in advanced bookbinding, book repair, and paper conservation. These classes were taught by world renowned instructors, including Don Etherington and Monique Lallier.

2006 – Tom and Cindy celebrated their 15th year in business at Kerrytown. Hollander’s school grew to offering over 60 workshops a year with nearly 1,000 students attending their workshops annually. Classes filled quickly and the school attracted participants from around the country.  

2009 – When a new opportunity to expand again presented itself, Tom and Cindy were ready for a different kind of creative adventure and opened Hollander's Kitchen & Home store directly above their paper store on the second floor of the Godfrey Building.

The two spaces were connected by a large interior stairway which allowed easy access to an extensive selection of kitchenware and home décor items. The space contained a beautiful existing kitchen that Hollander’s utilized to offer weekly cooking classes.  As a result of this new expansion, Hollander’s two businesses occupied three full floors and 15,000 square feet. 

Hollander's Kitchen and Home Store

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

2010 –  Meanwhile, Tom and Cindy continued to be involved with their craft and wrote and published their first book, Constructing and Covering Boxes. They regularly made their products to sell in the store and often made custom books and boxes for their customers, a unique aspect of their business.  Among many of their commissioned pieces were those for Gerald Ford, Stephen M. Ross, and the Arthur Miller family.

2014 – The kitchen and home store, as extensive and beautiful as it was, stretched the Hollander's a little thin and they discovered it was too difficult to maintain both businesses. As a result, Tom and Cindy decided to close their upstairs kitchen space.  

Atrium Room Entrance

2015 – After the closure the Hollanders implemented new ways to grow and enhance their store’s core offerings. This expanded into the related art supplies business which they discovered expanded their customer base even further.  They also completely rebuilt their website which greatly expand their online presence.

2016 – Hollander’s celebrated its 25th anniversary with a return to book and paper arts workshops in the fall which had been on hold for the past couple years. Tom and Cindy also committed to writing a second book for Schiffer Publishing that focused on both their bookbinding and box making specialties. 

2019 2020 Tom and Cindy completed their new book, Introduction to Bookbinding and Custom Cases. They also revised a second edition of their original and successful box making book. 

     Kerrytown Entrance on 4th Ave

With their business still very much thriving, the Hollanders felt it was consuming  more time then they would like at this point in their lives.  Although not quite ready for retirement, they sought a slower paced schedule that would allow them an opportunity to travel and spend more time with their families, but continue several aspects of their business. 

In 2020, Tom and Cindy closed their brick and mortar store amid the Covid-19 crisis, adding to the sadness of leaving the Kerrytown Shops. They chose to maintain their Internet business which continues today, primarily selling their decorative papers and bookbinding supplies. They also offer a few unique services including custom cutting of book board and handcrafting and selling their unique decorative boxes.